Survey results

POSTED ON May 25, 2017.

In April, the Search Committee launched an online survey to solicit community input regarding RACC’s next Executive Director. In all, 249 community members completed the survey, and we thank you for your input! Here’s who we heard from:

  • 54% identified as individual artists
  • 60% work at a nonprofit organization

When asked whether respondents had received a grant or public art commission from RACC,

  • 59% said yes, frequently or occasionally
  • 17% said they have never received a grant or commission, although they have applied

In terms of regional representation, 71% of respondents live in Multnomah County, 4% live in Clackamas County, 10% live in Washington County, and 15% live elsewhere.


Here’s what we learned:

In ranking the desired attributes of our next Executive Director, the community prioritized:

  1. Leadership for diversity, equity and inclusion (including 29% who listed this as the top priority);
  2. Strong and effective advocacy for public support of the arts (19% who listed this as the top priority);
  3. Visionary and innovative thinker (18% listed this as the top priority).

Through additional, open-ended comments about attributes, many respondents talked about the need to have a strong relationship with individual artists; community engagement; and the need to understand Portland’s unique cultural and historic disparities.

When asked to describe the top issues facing RACC in the future, the community prioritized:

  1. (Virtual tie:) Increase public support for the arts (23.8% listed as their top issue);
  2. Continue focus on equity and diversity (23.6% listed as their top issue);
  3. Increase support for the arts in minority communities (11% listed as their top choice)

Also in this section, many respondents articulated the need to increase support for individual artists, which was not one of the options listed; we appreciate that input.  

In closing, several respondents offered additional comments regarding RACC’s search for a new executive director. A representative sample of those comments:

  • “Please make this a transparent process.”
  • “RACC has ignored the facilities crisis in Portland.”
  • “Someone who reflects some of the many diverse voices and perspectives of Portland’s growing community and who has the life experience to cultivate a city of artists and art enthusiasts from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, especially those most often left out of the art community.
  • “There is no one advocating for the arts anymore and we really need someone to rally the community and think creatively and progressively about how to leverage the collective impact of the arts and culture sector in the region.”
  • “They should understand artists.”
  • “We need an outstanding leader to be a lightning rod for the mission of RACC. Energy, passion and commitment!”
  • “RACC is a REGIONAL arts and culture council. I would love the new ED to engage with artists and arts organizations from all over the Portland metro area.”
  • “I would suggest proactively seeking candidates of color, female candidates, and LGBT+ candidates for this position by promoting the opening through allied organizations and using the networks of board members and others to ensure the search reaches these demographics.”
  • “This person should listen to the needs of the whole community, instead of focusing on the large institutions that get most of RACC’s money and attention.”
  • “RACC is a strong organization, the new Executive Director will have opportunity to build on what currently exists and address the changing funding environment for the arts. The need to build alliances with other organizations and agencies to ensure the arts continue to grow and flourish in Portland and Oregon.”
  • “Ensure the new ED has a high public profile.”

Although the survey is now closed, community members can continue to ask questions and provide input to the search committee by emailing